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Televisions distortion of reality

The entertainment quality found in media violence eventually leads to
the degradation of human beings in society. Reality is distorted when people accept violence in media without question. Violence in media distorts reality by making people believe our world is unsafe. Although this may partially be true, media makes society believe one must have weapons to protect oneself. Actually this belief may propel the problem further. That is, the more weapons in our society the greater the chance of someone using them for the wrong things.

Most researchers blame movies, like Terminator 2 and Rambo, for causing people to have this distorted reality. Although these movies show a horrendous amount of blood and gore, I believe that most adults are able to separate these movies from reality. I feel that the “News” has a far worse impact on peoples’ perception of reality. To society the “News” is reality. These things really happen and we accept the “News” as truth. We become so accustomed to violent crimes and horror stories that we become less compassionate to others.

Another set of TV programs that have a powerful influence on the way we perceive society is the now hotter than ever “TV TALK SHOWS”. These TV Talk Shows have grown so popular over the last decade that every hour of the day at least two, or three seem to be on television. These talk shows show people with problems ranging from a husband who is having a sexual relationship with his wife’s sister to people who are physically attracted to their pets. The host or hostess of the show tries to solve the problem (or so he/she wants us to think). When we see people with problems such as these everyday on TV, we become so conditioned to them that we begin to see these problems as being normal and okay morally.

In F-451 the government distorts reality by controlling the media entirely, telling the people that there is nothing wrong with their current lifestyle. The dynamics of media violence work in a similar way as the addiction to drugs. Psychologically, people realize that their life is ordinary and mundane when compared to the violent scenes where their heroes and heroines act out exciting dramas. People are vulnerable to using violence itself to change their everyday life into the thrilling and dangerous life of their hero or heroine. In F-451 society has become so addicted to the media and would rather interact with a TV then with people themselves. This is because the media presents a comfortable and entertaining environment for them, free of the hassles of the real world of which they know nothing.

Ever since TV became mass media, researchers have studied how violence on TV affects the behavior of people watching. A decade after a 1972 Surgeon General’s report that explored the effects of televised violence upon adolescents, a report was issued by the National Institute of Mental Health concluding, “that the research question was no longer whether, but how, violence on TV leads to aggressive behavior” (Davies, 1994, p. 10). The constant bombardment of images, sounds, and emotions of shootings, bombings and rapes will no doubt desensitized society and might even lead to their validation of it as a response to a stressful lifestyle.

A study was conducted on a town in Canada where, because of its location, TV reception was unavailable until 1974. This centre was referred to as Notel. Notel was compared to two other similar demographic Canadian towns. One town, called Unital, received only CBC, while the other named Multitel, received CBC, CBS, NBC and ABC. The first phase involved collecting data and concluded in 1973 just before CBC reception became available in Notel. In all three towns, the researchers observed both physical and verbal aggression of children during play periods, asked for teachers’ ratings of students’ aggressiveness, and also had students rate the aggressiveness of their peers both before and two years after Notel received television.

Children in Notel showed a significant increase in both physical and verbal aggression after receiving television, but no such change was observed of children in either Unitel or Multitel (Mietkiewicz, 1993, p.G1). In F-451, society had became so violent that people who would walk on the street were in danger of being run over and left to die, as the offender drives away cheering. The constant echo of fighter planes rumbling in the sky, people being burnt to death for reading and owning books are other examples of the violent society in which Montag lived.

Violence in media affects everyone in a negative way. Everywhere we go the media follows. We cannot hide from it. I believe that media is what shapes most of our values and beliefs as in Montag’s world. Therefore if garbage goes in garbage comes out. With the constant bombardment of violent media we become desensitized and the value of life is minimized. Censorship is virtually impossible but we do have a choice. We can limit exposure to the quality and quantity of media and learn to be critical media consumers. This is the only solution.

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